Joining the Fight

by By Whitney Schmitt

Man in navy shirt holds a folder that reads "A.C.T. Project" Activities for Chemo Treatment."

Growing up, Quality Engineer Scott Murphy and his sister, Linda — who is 14 years his senior — were two peas in a pod. Reading was a pastime they enjoyed doing together and, on Linda’s pay days, she bought him Hardy Boys books and toy matchbox cars from their favorite bookstore, which led Scott to become an avid reader.

When Linda was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2019, Scott knew it was his time to return the favor.

“The cancer center was very quiet, and no one would talk, so I began making activity books with trivia and games to help pass the time for my sister,” said Scott who, at the time, was working as a quality engineer for Northrop Grumman in Cincinnati, Ohio. He kept Linda company during every one of her chemotherapy sessions at Mercy Health Fairfield hospital in Cincinnati.

Scott’s activity books were filled with Cincinnati trivia as well as word searches of Linda’s favorite bands and movies to help keep her mind off the treatment.

Other patients started showing interest and joined in on the fun, often helping Linda complete the books Scott pulled together. As interest grew, he began creating more generic versions of the activity booklets for other patients to use during their chemo sessions. Soon, other hospitals showed interest, too. As more booklets were shared, Scott’s passion project turned into something bigger, and Activities for Chemo Treatment (ACT) was born.

A Shared Passion

The popularity of Scott’s ACT project grew and was covered by a Cincinnati television news station. Shortly after Scott’s segment aired in January 2022, Unstoppable Joy — a non-profit that provides healing bags, which include self-care items, to cancer patients through their treatment journey — proposed a collaboration that Scott couldn’t pass up. Within a few months, Scott began distributing Unstoppable Joy’s healing bags to several treatment centers each month. In return, Unstoppable Joy placed Scott’s ACT activity books in all their healing bags distributed nationwide.

In August 2022, after relocating to Northrop Grumman’s site in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Scott found additional support from Northrop Grumman’s Women’s International Network (NGWIN) employee resource group (ERG). NGWIN donated supplies, wrote encouraging letters for patients and even delivered Unstoppable Joy’s healing bags — containing Scott’s books — to the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center in Colorado Springs.

“It is personal for me — my husband is a patient at the facility, and I can relate to how difficult things can get for patients,” said Administrator Margie Crowe, an NGWIN member who participated in the latest delivery of healing bags. “A little care and love that others show them go a long way.”

Scott said the support of his Northrop Grumman community has made an impact on him.

“It makes a huge difference to me personally,” said Scott, who was awarded a $500 community service grant from Northrop Grumman after logging his volunteer hours in MyGivingPortal, the company’s volunteering website. “I am very proud of the support my fellow Northrop Grumman employees have shown and their willingness to help. Beyond the financial support, I’m so honored to work with and meet people who share the passion of helping others undergoing chemotherapy.”

Small Acts, Big Impact

Today, Linda is cancer-free and avidly follows Scott’s efforts, even joining him for visits to Cincinnati to make deliveries.

“Maybe it’s just luck, but all of my family members who received the booklets have made it through,” said Scott, whose nephew and niece both underwent chemotherapy; they too are now cancer-free.

Looking ahead, Scott said he would like to create a youth-specific version of his books, inspired by an iteration he made for his nephew and a request from an 11-year-old girl in Nevada, who has now also beaten leukemia.

“I started this project for my family and for others who are in the fight against cancer,” Scott said. “We all can do things for others in need. Any small act of kindness you can do means more than you know.”

Life at Northrop Grumman

Your work at Northrop Grumman makes a difference. Whether you want to design next-generation aircraft, harness digital technologies or build spacecraft that will return humanity to the moon, you’ll contribute to technology that’s transforming the world. Check out our career opportunities to see how you can help define possible.

woman standing with robot.

Connecting to Community

Erica says giving back is in her blood. 

female posed while sitting in chair

Into the Unknown

Two months after the invasion of Ukraine — Leyla and her husband, arrived in Pzemysl, Poland.

woman with glasses forms a heart wtih her hands above her head outdoors

Changing Hearts

After a heart transplant, Kathy transformed her life and career.